Thursday, May 14, 2009

A WebQuest

Who was Edgar Allan Poe?

Edgar Allen Poe was a talented writer that used his personal struggles and suffering to fuel his writing. It was through this suffering that he was able to create such dark characters, and give the reader a look into his own dementia. To fully understand Poe and where his inspiration comes from, you must first research his life, literary tendencies, and the history of the time in which he lived. Use the links below to find out all of the important information about this man's mysterious life while completing the Quest Questions below.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Life:
Use this interactive website to help you discover information about Poe’s life and literature:

Other sites about Poe’s life and literature:
Poe Biography and Works
More Poe
Edgar Allen Poe's life


Alternative site for online biographical information:
In order to access this site, you need the username gogrolier and the password library.

Connecting to Poe’s Life - Research Questions

Directions: As a group, use the following questions to help you complete your quest to unravel the mystery behind Edgar Allan Poe and what inspired his writing. Put your answers on your own piece of paper. You do not have to write out the questions. Divide up the research and coordinate your team’s efforts to find out about Poe's life.

1. When was Edgar Allan Poe born?

2. Where was Edgar Allan Poe born and what was his name at birth?

3. What name was he given at his baptism?

4. Who were Poe’s birth parents and what happened to them?

5. Who were Poe’s adopted parents and what did you learn about them?

6. Where was he educated?

7. Record the names and dates of the places Poe lived during his lifetime.

8. What types of jobs did he have?

9. What kind of writing was his first love?

10. Name the new genre Poe is accredited with creating.

11. What famous work was published in 1841 and what was significant about it?

12. What were some of the titles and dates of Poe’s work?

13. Who were the important women in Poe’s life and when did they die?

14. Who was Poe’s wife and what was unusual about her?

15. What was Poe’s relationship with his father? Give 3 or 4 specific examples to illustrate.

16. Are you surprised that Poe didn't get along with his father? Explain.

17. What were some of the tragic events Poe faced during his life?

18. How do you think these may have influenced Poe’s writing?

19. Poe might have sometimes been described as opinionated, romantic, impractical,
arrogant, ingenious, creative, intelligent and restless. Did you find examples in your
research that would support these descriptions?

20. Do you think many of the themes of Poe's work can be explained by the events in his
life? Explain.

21. Do you think Poe's frequent moves impacted his work? Explain.

22. Poe was recognized as a skilled writer during his lifetime and yet he was often very poor.
Do you think this would happen if Poe had lived today? Explain.

23. Do you think the time period Poe lived during is reflected in his writing? Explain.

24. What were other interesting facts or information did you learn about Poe?

Group Discussion:

Now that you know something about Edgar Allan Poe, it is time to consider what you have found. As a group, and using the information you have learned about Poe’s life, discuss the following questions:

1. In what ways was Poe's life remarkable?
2. In what ways was Poe's life despicable?
3. In what ways was Poe's life admirable?
4. What human qualities were most influential in shaping the way Poe lived and influenced
his time?
5. Which of Poe's qualities or traits proved most troubling and difficult?
6. Which of Poe's qualities or traits proved most beneficial?
7. Did Poe make any major mistakes or bad decisions? If so, what were they and how did
Poe handle or not handle them?
8. What the two or three most important lessons you or any other person might learn from
the way Poe lived?
9. Some people say you can judge the quality of a person's life by the enemies they make. Do
you think this is true of Poe's life? Explain why or why not?
10. An older person or mentor is often very important in shaping the lives of gifted people by
providing guidance and encouragement. To what extent was this true about Poe?
11. Many people act out of a "code" or a set of beliefs that dictate choices. It may be religion
or politics or a personal philosophy. To what extent did Poe act by a code or act
independently of any set of beliefs? Were there times when the code was challenged and
impossible to follow?
12. What do you think it means to be a hero? Was Poe a "hero?" Why or why not?

Poe’s Literary Work:

Now that you fully understand Poe and his inspirational environment, it is time to become familiar with his works. To accomplish this task, you will first be assigned to a team based on the literary work you will present to the class. Choose one of Poe’s works from the links below and read it individually.

Premature Burial
Annabelle Lee
Ms. in a Bottle
Murder in Rue Morgue
Pit and the Pendulum

As a group, complete the Plot Analysis Worksheet to help you identify the literary terms of the work you selected. Visit the following website to refresh your understanding of the terms and concepts found in the short story or narrative poem. Click on the link, and once you are on the WebQuest homepage, click on the link for Resources that is on the left of the screen and then click on Literary Concepts. Read what these elements are and then complete the questions for the Plot Analysis. Answer the questions on a separate sheet of paper.

Plot Analysis

Copyright Date

Identify each of the following:

1. Setting
2. Mood
3. Point of View
4. Central Conflict
5. Protagonist
a. Inner Conflict
b. Outer Conflict
6. Antagonist
a. Inner Conflict
b. Outer Conflict
7. Sub Characters
8. Inciting Incident
9. Rising Action (at least 4 events)
10. Climax
11. Resolution
12. Genre
13. Foreshadowing
14. Flashback
15. Irony

Quest Project:

Now that you have a better understanding of the story you have read, as a group, decide how you want to present your story to the class. This needs to be some type of presentation. You can either do it as a dramatization of the story, a puppet show, a reader’s theater, or a talk show. If your group has a better idea, be sure to clear it with your teacher. Be sure to recreate the mood and tone of the piece as you present. You want to stay true to Poe's work.

Hopefully, this experience was educational and enjoyable. Feel free to explore more of the other interesting websites about Poe:

Additional sites for Poe’s work:
Poe's Work

Poe’s Cryptographic Challenge